Fortnite fever and verified Vermonsters: Frightgeist Halloween trends for 2018

3 days 10 hours ago

We’re a little bit more than a fortnight away from Halloween 2018, so it’s time to head to Search for costume inspiration. This year’s Frightgeist—brought to you by Google Trends—shows what’s brewing in the costume cauldron near you and in other hot spots across the country.

The top searched costumes for 2018 are a not-so-macabre mix of Halloween classics (where my witches at?) and contemporary looks the kiddos will go crazy for. Here’s your top ten, just a click away from Google Images ideas to bring each of these to life (or back from the dead):

  1. Fortnite

  2. Spider-Man

  3. Unicorn

  4. Dinosaur

  5. Witch

  6. Harley Quinn

  7. Superhero

  8. Pirate

  9. Rabbit

  10. Princess

As you can see, Fortnite fever has swept the country-- so much that it’s a top search costume in a whopping 43 states. Here are seven states that stand apart and the costumes that are capturing people’s attention--look forward to some Utahcorns and Vermonsters in your neighborhood this year:

  • Alaska: Mermaid

  • Arkansas: Dinosaur

  • Idaho: Unicorn

  • Oregon: Dinosaur

  • South Dakota: Spiderman

  • Utah: Unicorn

  • Vermont: Monster

This year’s top spot is occupied by a new-to-Frightgeist costume trend. Here are other additions to the top 100 for 2018, in order of popularity:

14. The Incredibles

23. Black Panther (Wakanda forever!)

44. Nun

59. Vampirina

70. 1970s (what a coincidence!)

Not all costumes have the staying power of pirates and princesses. Here are a few of the looks that fell from the top 100 for this year’s list:

  1. Princess Leia

  2. Daenarys Targaryen

  3. Darth Vader

  4. Minions

  5. Emoji

If this sampling of scary isn’t what you had in mind to land your perfect Halloween look, head to the Costume Wizard fright now and amp up the spookiness or uniqueness to find the ghoulish get-up you desire.


Have a gourd time this Halloween!

DaedTech Digest: Exploring the Northeast

4 days 4 hours ago

As with last week’s slow travel chronicle, I’m going to continue with a temporary break from answering reader questions.  (Though by all means, keep firing away with them.  I’ll get back to answering in due time — I just think it’s probably interesting to chronicle as I go, for those interested in this lifestyle). The […]

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Erik Dietrich

DaedTech Digest: Notes from the Road in Vermont

1 week 4 days ago

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for yet another slow travel blog/digest post.  If you’d like to catch up on the category, you can read previous editions here.  I’ve mainly been answering questions people ask me about the slow travel lifestyle.  But, since we just packed up did a mini-move to Vermont, I figured I’d […]

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Erik Dietrich

Promoting inclusive storytelling with the Google Podcasts creator program

1 week 4 days ago

Podcasting has quickly become one of the best ways to share and listen to stories, but its future depends on a diverse array of stories, voices and creators. With the launch of the Google Podcasts app in June, we’re working to make it easier for people around the world to find and access podcasts. While there are more podcasts than ever before, there continues to be an imbalance in who is creating them. Women and people of color are still underrepresented as hosts, and many of the world’s most popular podcasts hail from western, urban areas. In June we announced the Google Podcasts creator program, which aims to support these underrepresented voices in podcasting, and make it easier for people to learn how to get into this growing medium.


Beginning today, through November 18th, the application window is official open globally for the first round of the Google Podcasts creator program, which will kick off in January 2019. We’re partnering with one of the best in the podcasting industry, PRX, who will lead and manage the program. PRX has demonstrated a long-time commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the space. As a pioneer of the podcasting space, PRX will lend this valuable expertise to the podcasters in the program.


The Google Podcasts creator program is focused on three main pillars: empowering and training underrepresented voices through an accelerator program, educating a global community with free tools, and showcasing participants’ work as a model for others. PRX, alongside a global advisory committee, will select teams to receive mentorship, seed funding, and an intensive 20-week training. Applications will be accepted from around the globe. You can learn more and apply to the program on PRX’s Google Podcasts creator program website.


For podcast enthusiasts that want to learn more about what it takes to create a podcast, but are not yet ready to apply to the program, PRX will draw on learnings from the program to develop a series of broadly accessible podcasting 101 videos in multiple languages, as well.


Podcasts are a way to bring additional voices, perspectives and experiences into your day-to-day life. The Google Podcasts creator program is designed to help support these voices, so that everyone can find a story that resonates with them.

Narrow Niche: When is Narrow Too Narrow?

1 week 5 days ago

I think I’m going to abandon the idea of “reader question Tuesday,” or any particular day.  I’ll keep writing reader questions, but, in keeping with my announcement of blogging for fun, I’ll just post them whatever day of the week I feel like.  So today, a Wednesday, let’s do a reader question about a narrow […]

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Erik Dietrich

DaedTech Digest: Packing Edition and What We Take

2 weeks 4 days ago

As I mentioned in a recent digest post, we’re heading to Vermont in a few days, where we’ll stay for a month.  Since mentioning that, we’ve gotten questions about leaving our house unoccupied and about what packing is like.  Since I answered the former last week, I’ll answer the latter this week. What Does One Pack […]

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Erik Dietrich

Image rights metadata in Google Images

2 weeks 4 days ago

As part of a collaboration between Google, photo industry consortium CEPIC, and IPTC, the global technical standards body for the news media, you can now access rights-related image metadata in Google Images.

It’s traditionally been difficult to know the creator of images on the web, as well as who might own the rights. This information is often part of image metadata, and is key to protecting image copyright and licensing information.

Starting today, we’ve added Creator and Credit metadata whenever present to images on Google Images. To see this information on Google Images, you can click on the “Image Credits” link to view the metadata fields. Over the coming weeks, we will also add Copyright Notice metadata.

Also in partnership with CEPIC and IPTC, we hope to create better usage guidance for photographers, photo agencies and publishers to include copyright and attribution information in image metadata. For more on how to best implement IPTC metadata, refer to the IPTC Guidelines.

Andrew Fingerman, CEO of PhotoShelter, a provider of digital asset management tools for photographers and brands, describes why this is a big step for Google Images: “Employing IPTC metadata standards in Google Images results will help ensure proper attribution of credit and support photographers’ copyright, while also boosting the discoverability of content and creators. This is a win for the professional photo community.”

If you have questions, feedback or suggestions, please let us know through the Webmaster Tools Help Forum.

Throwbacks and thank yous on our 20th birthday

2 weeks 4 days ago

On Google’s 20th birthday, Thursday is not just for throwbacks. It’s also for thank yous.

Google wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for you: a curious crowd that comes to Search with all of life’s questions. Today’s birthday Doodle is dedicated to you, and the 20 years of searches that represent the inquisitiveness of people everywhere.

In today’s Doodle and hidden in Search for a limited time, you’ll be thrown back to (and flashed forward from) the days when “what is Y2K?” was your most burning tech question, Pluto was still a planet, and clip art was a critical part of visual communication.

The days when the music format du jour was the MP3 file and it was cutting-edge to watch a DVD. When you had to choose a screen name before hopping into a chat room.

All the kids had to have a digital pet, and girls were rocking the latest butterfly clip styles in their hair. Everyone was keepin' it real and gettin' jiggy wit it on the dance floor. And googol was just a really big number.

You can also peer back into the last two decades through the lens of trends by visiting 20years.withgoogle.com and seeing many of the people, pop culture and pizza (yes, pizza) that inspired your searches from 1998 to now.

We hope this jaunt down memory lane reminds you of your own magical moments when you found just what you were looking for with Google. For the next 20 years and beyond: Search on.

Searching for Tuva: Before the internet and now

2 weeks 5 days ago

“So you think you know every country in the world?” my late friend and drumming partner Richard Feynman said with a twinkle in his eye, back in 1977.“Well, then, whatever happened to Tannu Tuva?”

I replied, “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman—there is no such country!”

But there was: Feynman remembered Tuva as a purple splotch on the map just outside of Outer Mongolia. In the 1930s Tuva issued dozens of marvelous triangular- and diamond-shaped stamps that he collected as a boy. Then the country mysteriously disappeared.

His question turned into a quest—to learn everything we could about Tuva, and to get there ourselves. On the occasion of Google's 20th anniversary this month, I've been thinking about how different our search was then compared to today.

Back then our main source of information was libraries—local, university, even the Library of Congress. Much of the information was in Russian (Tuva had been absorbed into Stalin’s Soviet Union during World War II), so we recruited a linguistic wizard named Glen Cowan to help. (Today you can use Google Translate.) We scoured card catalogs, microfilm reels, cross-library listings—and books that literally needed the dust blown off—in hopes of finding a useful nugget of information. Each nugget, rare and unexpected, delivered a small delight of discovery, and kept our quest alive.

Search for “Tuva” today on Google and you’ll be showered with so many nuggets that you can’t possibly treasure them all.

Back then it took us months to find a single grainy black-and-white photograph of Tuva; search for “images Tuva” on Google today and you’ll find a hundred color photographs in a second.

Back then it took us a year to find a single hand-drawn map of Tuva’s exotically spelled capital; today, you can instantly see a detailed street map of Kyzyl based on satellite imagery, with current traffic conditions.

Because information about Tuva was so difficult to find in the pre-Internet era, our quest was full of twists—much like a Feynman diagram (go ahead, search!). One twist took us to Moscow, where Cowan and I discovered and then brought the largest archaeological and ethnographic exposition ever from the Soviet Union to the United States. It included spectacular items from Tuva, of course. We thought the Nomads exhibition would provide us the key to finally setting foot in Kyzyl; it actually was the key for a dozen Soviet academicians to visit the mysterious Disneyland. No matter: we learned the meaning of the Taoist saying, “The reward is in the journey.”

Undaunted, we spread our enthusiasm by sending out Xeroxed newsletters to our friends, encouraging them to pass them on and send back SASEs (self-addressed stamped envelopes) for future newsletters. We also set up a “Friends of Tuva hotline” (221-TUVA) to spread the latest information about the singing cowboys from Tuva riding in the 1993 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Each Tuvan cowboy could sing two notes simultaneously, something we could scarcely imagine when we read about it in books; today, YouTube has dozens of “Tuvan throatsinging” music videos, and the “Friends of Tuva” newsletters are online.

Sadly, Feynman died in 1988, just weeks before receiving the coveted formal invitation that would allow us to set foot in Tuva at last. But his memory lives on, here and in the land of his dreams. Today, you can find an article online about “Feynman Rock” in Tuva, carved to commemorate the centenary of Feynman’s birth in May this year. At a related event in Kyzyl, Cowan gave a talk in Russian about the work that won Feynman the Nobel Prize, while a simultaneous commemoration live-streamed into Kyzyl from Caltech.

The view from Feynman Rock in Tuva

Today I embark on dozens of quirky diversions every week, usually ending up happily lost in the world of Wikipedia (to which I contribute a dollar a day for my habit). But these easy jaunts seem more like sugar highs than the satisfying meal that Tuva provided, so in an effort to recapture that spirit of adventure, I’ve begun to frequent my local library and read good old-fashioned books again.

Nevertheless, I'm thankful for the embarrassment of riches and fools gold that is today’s Internet. And on Google's 20th anniversary, I offer up a fervent hope: let us never stop pursuing the mysteries that surround us—wondrous mysteries that await sustained, serendipitous, and joyful investigation. Quests can still begin with an intriguing question; adventures still await the curious mind.

Find your Tuva.

Oh, The Things You’ll Find

2 weeks 5 days ago

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to great pages!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
and fingers on your hands.
You can search for whatever
and see where it lands.
You're on your own. With an empty white box.
Roll a dice, flip a coin, if you’re feeling lucky (or not).

You'll spin around pages. “Do a barrel roll” with care!
About anagram you’ll say: "did you mean” isn't right there...
With your head full of brains and your hands full of fingers,
You're too smart to tap any Super Mario box figures.

And if you do not find links
That you want to click on.
You'll go back to the start,
Type again and #SearchOn.

But searchers, beware!
We've hidden more things
in the wide open air ;)

In Search, things can happen,
sometimes go askew,
Atari breakouts, Zerg rushes,
Blink <html> blink blinks too.

And when you have questions,
about lonely numbers or unicorn horns.
Or the answer to life the universe
and everything … again, #SearchOn

OH!
THE THINGS YOU’LL FIND!

Because, once in a blue moon,
Bletchley Park will be scrambled
sending PAC-MAN and snakes
on a big fullscreen amble.

Hooting owls will hoot hoot,
Mooing cows will moo moo,
Google in 1998 will send you back
20 years or so too.

And if that means you need balance,
Why not play solitaire?
Take a moment to spin a dreidel
and catch your breath there. 

Reset your bubble levels,
Turn your metronome back on,
(sqrt(cos(x))*cos(500*x)
+sqrt(abs(x))-0.4)*(3-x*x)^0.1

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL FIND ANSWERS!

So…
Whether you’re Aussie or Kenyan or mostly Hungarian
Or an Indo-Peruvian-Czech vegetarian.
You're off to great pages!
Today is your day!
Your search page is waiting.
So...get on your way!

With the help of Google Search, one woman finds her way

2 weeks 6 days ago

Robin Máxkii always felt caught between worlds—her reservation in Wisconsin, where she lived until age 11, and the urban sprawl of Houston, where she went to high school. During her late teens and early 20s, she maintained a blog, Native Notes, where she wrote passionately about native issues. One day, she received an anonymous comment that would change her life. It stated that if she wanted to actively change the community she wrote about, she should go to college. The seed was planted—she just needed to figure out how.


Robin turned to Google Search and before she knew it, she found her place at a tribal college. There, she became a campus leader, and took internships that helped her advocate for greater access to tech for her community.


Robin’s journey is the subject of our latest episode of “Search On,” Google’s original documentary series that tells the stories of people on a quest for better answers and the magic that happens when they find them at the intersection of tech and humanity. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Google and Google Search, we couldn’t think of a story that better exemplifies the tremendous possibilities that come when people have access to information. Watch Robin’s story above, and read more at g.co/betweenworlds.

Keeping people safe with AI-enabled flood forecasting

3 weeks ago

For 20 years, Google Search has provided people with the information they need, and in times of crisis, access to timely, actionable information is often crucial. Last year we launched SOS Alerts on Search and Maps to make emergency information more accessible. Since then, we’ve activated SOS Alerts in more than 200 crisis situations, in addition to tens of thousands of Google Public Alerts, which have been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

Floods are devastating natural disasters worldwide—it’s estimated that every year, 250 million people around the world are affected by floods, also costing billions of dollars in damages. Flood forecasting can help individuals and authorities better prepare to keep people safe, but accurate forecasting isn’t currently available in many areas. And the warning systems that do exist can be imprecise and non-actionable, resulting in far too many people being underprepared and underinformed before a flood happens.

To help improve awareness of impending floods, we're using AI and significant computational power to create better forecasting models that predict when and where floods will occur, and incorporating that information into Google Public Alerts. A variety of elements—from historical events, to river level readings, to the terrain and elevation of a specific area—feed into our models. From there, we generate maps and run up to hundreds of thousands of simulations in each location. With this information, we’ve created river flood forecasting models that can more accurately predict not only when and where a flood might occur, but the severity of the event as well.

These images depict a flood simulation of a river in Hyderabad, India. The left side uses publicly available data while the right side uses Google data and technology. Our models contain higher resolution, accuracy, and up-to-date information.

We started these flood forecasting efforts in India, where 20 percent of global flood-related fatalities occur. We’re partnering with India’s Central Water Commission to get the data we need to roll out early flood warnings, starting with the Patna region. The first alert went out earlier this month after heavy rains in the region.

Flood alert shown to users in the Patna region.

We’re also looking to expand coverage to more countries, to help more people around the world get access to these early warnings, and help keep them informed and safe.